Simple pronunciation question

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wilms
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Simple pronunciation question

Post by wilms » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:50 pm

When adjectives ending in "w", such as nieuw and blauw are declined (an "e" is added to the end), is the final "w" pronounced or not?

I asked this question of a Dutch friend some time ago and was told that it is pronounced like the "w" in "weten" or "wonen", but listening to my language sets and audio books, I'm just not hearing it. It sounds to me like the speakers are saying "ni-U-e" (the "U" being the Dutch "u", not the English one) and "blaue". That is, the "w" is not being pronounced, so not "ni-U-ve" and "blauve".

Similarly, does this apply to "trouwens" and "huwelijk"? Thus, they are pronounced "traues" and "hUelijk" (with an off-glide "w" similar to English as in "dual" [doo-wal]).

I'd appreciate it if a native speaker (or anyone else in the know) could shed some light here as I read Dutch very well, but never have the opportunity to speak it, so am wanting to make sure I'm learning the pronunciation correctly.

Thanks,

Wilms

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Quetzal
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Re: Simple pronunciation question

Post by Quetzal » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:30 pm

wilms wrote:When adjectives ending in "w", such as nieuw and blauw are declined (an "e" is added to the end), is the final "w" pronounced or not?

I asked this question of a Dutch friend some time ago and was told that it is pronounced like the "w" in "weten" or "wonen", but listening to my language sets and audio books, I'm just not hearing it. It sounds to me like the speakers are saying "ni-U-e" (the "U" being the Dutch "u", not the English one) and "blaue". That is, the "w" is not being pronounced, so not "ni-U-ve" and "blauve".

Similarly, does this apply to "trouwens" and "huwelijk"? Thus, they are pronounced "traues" and "hUelijk" (with an off-glide "w" similar to English as in "dual" [doo-wal]).

I'd appreciate it if a native speaker (or anyone else in the know) could shed some light here as I read Dutch very well, but never have the opportunity to speak it, so am wanting to make sure I'm learning the pronunciation correctly.

Thanks,

Wilms
I have to say I've never understood this claim you hear a lot about how Dutch "w"s would sound something like "v"s. They may not be 100% like English "w"s, but certainly much closer to that than they are to "v"s in either language, as far as I can tell...

It's true that "au", "ou", "ieu" and "eeu" have a tendency of ending in a "w" sound anyway, even when no "w" is following, though that obviously differs between accents (you'll hear it much less in Flemish accents). But to claim that you hear no "w" sound in "nieuwe" or "blauwe" seems to me like you're setting everything on its head - you do hear a "w" sound, it's just that you might well hear the same sound even if the "w" wasn't there.

If you ask a Flemish speaker, at least, to pronounce "trouwens", "huwelijk", "nieuwe" or "blauwe" as if the W wasn't there, I can assure you you'd most definitely note the difference, the W is needed. That said, yes, it does sound a lot like the "off-glide w" as you call it in English.

Allophones are always a tricky thing when learning new languages - for Dutch speakers there's no meaningful difference between the W in "weten" and the W in "nieuwe", so they don't consider them as different sounds, even though there is a genuine difference if you analyze it closely.

wilms
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Re: Simple pronunciation question

Post by wilms » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:53 pm

Hi Quetzal,

Thanks for your reply.

Just so I'm clear: the "w" in "nieuwe" is thus pronounced more like the English "w" than like the English "v", is that right?

When I said I'm not hearing the "w", I should have clarified that and said I'm not hearing it as a "v" sound like in English "victim" or "vine". I hear what, to me, sounds like an English "w" in these words rather than the "v" sound my friends said is there.

When I was in school we had a Dutch exchange student and he told me to pronounce the Dutch "w" (at least at the beginning of a word) by putting my front teeth just inside/behind my bottom lip (rather than on top of the bottom like as in the English "v" or German "w") and pronounce it more or less like a "v" sound.

This being said, (and taking it as read that the Dutch "u" is pronounced as a rounded mid-vowel much like the German "ü"), when pronouncing a word such as "huwelijk", the top front teeth do not come in contact with the bottom lip when pronouncing the "uwe", do they? Or, to use a different word, when saying something like, "Ik heb een paar nieuwe schoenen nodig", the top front teeth don't touch the bottom lip when pronouncing the "ieuwe" in nieuwe, do they?

I was just listening to the examples here:

http://www.heardutchhere.net/silentW.html

and when this person says "nieuwe" I'm hearing "nieUwe" (where "U" is the Dutch "u" and "w" is much like the English "w" - that is, the lips are rounded and the top front teeth do not touch the bottom lip).

If this is too much to cover in writing, perhaps I could send you a sound file of me saying these words two different ways and you could advise which is closer to being correct?

Thanks for your help,

Wilms

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Bert
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Re: Simple pronunciation question

Post by Bert » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:04 pm

Here you can listen to the pronunciation of huwelijk:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... welijk.ogg

Officially it's [hywələk] (bron: woorden.org) but I hear it as [hju:lək]. :)

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Re: Simple pronunciation question

Post by Quetzal » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:08 pm

wilms wrote:Hi Quetzal,

Thanks for your reply.

Just so I'm clear: the "w" in "nieuwe" is thus pronounced more like the English "w" than like the English "v", is that right?

When I said I'm not hearing the "w", I should have clarified that and said I'm not hearing it as a "v" sound like in English "victim" or "vine". I hear what, to me, sounds like an English "w" in these words rather than the "v" sound my friends said is there.
Yeah, exactly. Like I said, I too have heard this story about "a Dutch W sounds like an English V" before, but it's never made any sense to me - as in, not only do I not agree, I've never even understood where people got that idea. That would suggest that the Dutch W is like the German one - which just isn't the case.
wilms wrote:
This being said, (and taking it as read that the Dutch "u" is pronounced as a rounded mid-vowel much like the German "ü"), when pronouncing a word such as "huwelijk", the top front teeth do not come in contact with the bottom lip when pronouncing the "uwe", do they? Or, to use a different word, when saying something like, "Ik heb een paar nieuwe schoenen nodig", the top front teeth don't touch the bottom lip when pronouncing the "ieuwe" in nieuwe, do they?

I was just listening to the examples here:

http://www.heardutchhere.net/silentW.html

and when this person says "nieuwe" I'm hearing "nieUwe" (where "U" is the Dutch "u" and "w" is much like the English "w" - that is, the lips are rounded and the top front teeth do not touch the bottom lip).
Yeah, exactly. If I as a Flemish speaker say that word, there's perhaps a bit less "u" to it, and the W might be more pronounced, but I still don't hear how his W sounds anything like a V.
wilms wrote:
If this is too much to cover in writing, perhaps I could send you a sound file of me saying these words two different ways and you could advise which is closer to being correct?

Thanks for your help,

Wilms
Sure, if that can help you. I think you can even add an mp3 to a post, although I've never tried that myself.

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Re: Simple pronunciation question

Post by Quetzal » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:10 pm

Bert wrote:Here you can listen to the pronunciation of huwelijk:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... welijk.ogg

Officially it's [hywələk] (bron: woorden.org) but I hear it as [hju:lək]. :)
Not hearing the w is one thing (though I disagree), but where does that j come from, or that u as opposed to y? Isn't "u" in the IPA the sound that in Dutch would be "oe"?

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Bert
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Re: Simple pronunciation question

Post by Bert » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:29 pm

Quetzal wrote:Not hearing the w is one thing (though I disagree), but where does that j come from, or that u as opposed to y?
Ik kan je vraag helaas niet begrijpen. Ik kan me voorstellen dat je gelijk hebt want ik heb geen absoluut gehoor. (Mijn methode toch werkt, en dit is genoeg voor mij. :))
Quetzal wrote:Isn't "u" in the IPA the sound that in Dutch would be "oe"?
Jazeker.

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Re: Simple pronunciation question

Post by ngonyama » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:45 am

Voor mij is nieuw [niw] met een Engelse/Surinaamse bilabiale approximant. Nieuwe is [niʋə] met een labiodendale approximant.

Maar dat zal in Vlaanderen ongetwijfeld anders zijn.

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Bert
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Re: Simple pronunciation question

Post by Bert » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:22 pm

ngonyama wrote:Voor mij is nieuw [niw] met een Engelse/Surinaamse bilabiale approximant. Nieuwe is [niʋə] met een labiodendale approximant.

Maar dat zal in Vlaanderen ongetwijfeld anders zijn.
Ik spreek 'nieuw' zoals het Engelse 'new' uit, zelfs als het totaal onjuist is. :D

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